Philosophy

  • 9th in the UK for world-leading and internationally excellent research
  • 7th for Philosophy in the UK in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017
  • Opportunities to study abroad in Europe, USA, Australia and elsewhere
  • Distinctive interdisciplinary approach with philosophers, sociologists, and anthropologists working together in teaching and research
  • Flexibility to tailor your degree around your own interests

About philosophy

Philosophy is the most ancient of the academic disciplines and acts as a foundation for many other areas of academic study. It also offers an excellent training in rigorous thinking.

While studying at Exeter, you’ll ask some of the questions most fundamental to human life: What is knowledge? How can we know? What really matters in life? How can we understand the nature and meaning of the universe? You’ll engage with and challenge the ideas of some of the key thinkers of the Western tradition, from Aristotle, Marx and Descartes to Hume, Russell and Heidegger.

Studying at Exeter 

Our enthusiastic staff will introduce you to core questions in philosophy. You’ll learn about metaphysics, which deals with the nature of existence and truth; epistemology, which deals with the nature, origin and scope of knowledge; and moral philosophy, which deals with topics such as lying and human rights.

You’ll learn to analyse arguments, criticise texts, write well-argued essays and question received ideas, all of which will help you to develop a deeper understanding of some pervasive and problematic features of the world and of ourselves.

Our programmes are based mostly, but not entirely, in the department of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology which offers a student-friendly, informal atmosphere. Our Single Honours programme gives you the opportunity to focus predominantly on philosophical themes and questions while our high quality Combined Honours programmes connect philosophy to history, politics, classics, theology and modern languages. We also offer philosophy in combination with politics and economics.

Academic staff and research interests

We have a vibrant research culture and our academic staff have a wide range of research interests in with particular strengths in the philosophy of science and in social, political and moral philosophy. We are one of the foremost centres for the philosophy of biology, in the UK and in the world. Our departmental research was ranked 9th in the UK in the latest Research Excellence Framework (2014) and our research is published in leading journals. This means you’ll benefit from exposure to academics who are leading contemporary debates in philosophy and integrating these new ideas within their teaching.